Early childhood education

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A combination of education and care makes Sweden’s early childhood education so much better than Australia’s. Ebba Dahlqvist

Why Swedish early learning is so much better than Australia’s

Most people have heard that Finland leads the world in education, but fewer have heard that Finland’s neighbour, Sweden, is the international leader in early childhood education and care.
The Productivity Commission’s report on childcare will help inform the Abbott government’s soon-to-be-unveiled ‘families package’. AAP/Paul Miller

Productivity Commission childcare report shows blind faith in market

Many of the Productivity Commission's proposals derive from assumptions that the funding of these services should ensure minimal interference, with a classic, market-based model for meeting "demand".
Developing the creativity habit requires more than just good intentions. Navy Hale Keiki School/Flickr

Fighting the slump: a strategic approach to developing creativity

A long-term trend of declining creativity test scores has renewed interest in mechanisms to stimulate and foster the development of creativity – at home, in schools, universities and workplaces. At the…
Research shows children in early learning benefit from having a stable relationship with one teacher, but with 180 qualified early learning teachers leaving every week, that can be difficult to maintain. Shutterstock

Will the Productivity Commission deliver for the childcare sector?

Last year in an open letter to the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, early childhood employers and peak bodies joined forces to ask for a commitment to early learning. They warned the political…
Giving today’s kids a flying start with early education will be crucial to helping them fill the gap left behind by retiring Baby Boomers. Kevin Conor Keller/Flickr

Baby Boomers, be nice to your grandkids: they may save Australia

The problem with Australia’s population ageing is not that there are too many older people – it’s that there are not enough young people to support them. That presents many challenges to Australia’s continued…
The Productivity Commission report reflect the limits set by Tony Abbott when he announced terms of reference focused on economic benefit. AAP/Alan Porritt

PC logic: let the market solve childcare market failure

The Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Childcare and Early Childhood Learning shows the serious limitations of market economics for analysing social policy. The report’s 900-plus pages offer a collection…
The Productivity Commission contains many positive measures for Early Childhood Learning, but are they implementable? AAP

Good results for early learning, but the devil is in the detail

The recommendations of the Productivity Commission into Childcare and Early Learning appear to be a win for early childhood learning. However, as with many reports such as this, the devil is in the detail…
School, or more play? Kindergarden kids by Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

Hard Evidence: at what age are children ready for school?

When are children “ready” for school? There is much debate about when the transition between play-based pre-school and the start of “formal” schooling should begin. The trend in the UK primary school curriculum…
Childcare is expensive, but it’s one of the best investments you can make. Flickr/Howard county Library

Childcare may be expensive, but it’s worth it in the long run

With the Productivity Commission Report into Early Learning and Childcare due this month and ABS data on the subject released last week, the cost of childcare is in the spotlight again. However, highlighting…
Teaching parents how to parent has many positive outcomes, but it doesn’t mean people are going to like it. Flickr/Russ Robinson

Teaching parents how to parent: essential interventions or government meddling?

The idea of teaching parents how to parent makes many of us uncomfortable. However, educating parents is a positive step towards a society that provides all children with the best possible start in life…
Let’s ignore the policymakers, kid. Wilson X

Focus on attachment in parenting policy is misplaced

A recent report from the Sutton Trust is the latest in a line of recommendations for family policy to focus on promoting secure attachment between parents and their children. What puzzles me is why the…
Forget the daily grunt… can we learn more vocab today? kaarsten child image via Shutterstock

Listening, not testing, will improve children’s vocabulary

Every few months a story appears about the declining speech and language skills of children arriving in primary school. The epithet “the daily grunt” was invented by one newspaper to capture the lack of…
Do you think your Mum and Dad made the right choice? John Stillwell/PA

What should parents look for when choosing a nursery?

Choosing a good quality nursery is one of the most important decisions any parent will make during the first years of their child’s life. In a recent report, UK school and childcare regulator Ofsted acknowledged…
My mum could use that extra cash. Peter Macdiarmid/PA

New childcare accounts help those who already afford quality

The coalition has placed a series of new plans on the table with regard to childcare and early years education. Most eye-catching is the new “tax-free childcare” scheme: from September 2015, for every…
You can tell me anything. Mother & son image via Shutterstock

Bonding with your child matters for their life chances

The idea that parenting matters for early child development is now widely accepted. We also now know a great deal about the role of parenting in social inequalities in development. Parents with more resources…
Should parents be satisfied with a “you get what you pay for” model of early childhood learning? www.shutterstock.com.au

The false choice of quality vs cost in early childhood education

The Productivity Commission is undertaking an inquiry into childcare and early learning. In a recent Issues Paper the commission suggests that there is an “inherent trade-off” between affordability and…
What’s wrong with the policy picture? Private childcare operators' priorities are driven by profits, not social needs. AAP/Joe Castro

Failed market assumptions are undermining care for our children

Can the Productivity Commission review commissioned by the Abbott government recognise the possible failure of the market-model funding of many early childhood services? This rather broad term now covers…

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